Thursday, October 31, 2013

Perfume Trends - fall & winter 2014 - PART IV - Gardenias!

According to IFRA UK part of the nostalgia trend is the blooming of floral bouquets with white flowers such as jasmines, tuberoses and gardenias. I have been wanting to dedicate one entire article for gardenias since I started this blog and it never really happened, so now it is the perfect timing.

Photo credit: + Q Perfume Blog

Gardenias are tropical and subtropical flowers and they bloom beautifully in Brazil for the same reason that we have good coffee and the reason is that gardenias and coffee are in the same family - the Rubiaceae.
I have many gardenia bushes in my garden and they give flowers many times a year, usually on spring and summer when the temperature rises up.
Gardenia perfumes are usually very feminine and rather opulent. It needs a wearer with a strong personality to hold all that together!
Now, don't run to buy a new trendy fragrance before checking this list:

Photo credit: BRAND

Un Matin d'Orage EDT by Annick Goutal brings a fluid watery gardenia combined with Sicilian lemon, green perilla, ginger,magnolia, jasmine and champaca. Very green-y, very fresh but although it is an EDT it is still a beautiful white blooming bouquet like this trend is asking for.


Also by the brand you will find Gardenia Passion EDP, a more voluptuous fragrance combining gardenia with orange blossom, tuberoses, jasmines and vanilla. More classic and perhaps more fitting to this trend that recalls the past.

Photo credit: + Q Perfume Blog

If you would like to try a fresh gardenia leaving French perfumery a little bit  to the side Ineke is your choice. The brand offers also an exquisite blend of gardenias combined with tea, green folliage, cypress, galbanum - enhancing the green and fresh side of it, with fig, frankincense , guaiac wood, musk and corn silk.  Hothouse Flower by Ineke - is a gardenia soliflower fragrance with a delicacy seen in many of the perfumer's compositions.


Photo credit: Luckyscent

A mix of gardenia and sandalwood notes - different approach to the white flower because it takes distance to white blooming bouquets and it can be enjoyed by men too. Somehow he managed to include a fainted milky creamy gourmandise into Gardenia Grand Soir EDT (seems that PG has a sweet tooth fetich going on in his lab...), so it takes steps a little bit far from the trend white bouquets itself but it nails 2 trends in one - gardenias and kitsch gourmets (!).


Photo credit: Brand

The fragrance that fits like a glove to this trend is OPARDU BY PUREDISTANCE - already reviewed here, click on the name to have a complete solo review. Not only it contains the Parisian aura of the 20's (an olfactive version of Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen), but also brings the white killer trio tuberose, jasmine and gardenia!


Photo credit: beautyenconter

Not the expected white blooming bouquet of a trio of white flowers, but when has Mr. TF delivered the expected?  In Velvet Gardenia EDP gardenias are combined with orange, jasmine, rose, muguet, tuberose, honey, plum, incense, labdanum, beeswax. A bit kinky, a bit animalic...not the gardenia perfume for brides, but maybe for the first soirée of the newly weds'... It is different, worth trying..if not to wear, at least to explore a different kick of a gardenia perfume. Hard to find these days...go to ebay or some perfumista in our community may still have one...


Photo credit: luckyscent

If you find gardenias + tropical coconut a very repetitive and dull association, think again. When Heeley comes into the picture nothing is dull. Here the tropical becomes hip with gardenias and coconut combined with notes of palm leafs, sea salt, vanilla Bourbon, Virginia cedar, sandalwood and benzoin. 

For more gardenia fragrances:

Black Gardenia by Michelle Bergman
Gardenia by Santa Maria Novella
Perfect Gardenia by Sarah Horowitz
Gardenia Petale by VC & A
Tuberose Gardenia Private Collection Estée Lauder
Vintage Gardenia by Jo Malone
Gardénia by Chanel Les Exclusifs
Cruel Gardenia by Guerlain

And velvety romantic gardenias with the soft voice of Nat King Cole!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Perfume Trends - fall & winter - PART III - White & Blue


According to IFRA UK expect to see cool clean crisp linens and marine or aquatic notes bringing new freshness to scents. Look for fresh, clean and relaxing fragrances.

Here we have:

Invictus by Pacco Rabanne
Bentley For Men Azure
Azzaro Chrome United
Merosene Pretty Machine


Eternal Return by CB I Hate Perfume (the best of all!!)
Lavender Tea by CB I Hate Perfume (very clean, very fresh)
Summer Kitchen & Just Breath by CB I hate Perfume (very relaxing fragrances)
Walking in The Air by CB I Hate Perfumes (very clean)

And all the amazing salty/marine fragrances that I have reviewed over the years - go back to them!

The whites:
Iceberg White by Iceberg
Juliette hHas a Gun Anyway
First Edition Blanche by VC & A

Perfume Trends - fall & winter - 2013-14 - PART II - KITSCH FRUITY



Lighthearted, fun and folly fragrances are also trendy. It is a new spin on positive emotions and whimsy. The idea of lighthearted fun, madness and total enjoyment of life and all it has to offer. Fragrance notes associated with this trend are: tangerine, strawberry, wild cherry, pink grapefruit and raspberry. Plums with rich warm heavy notes, peppermint swirls with marshmallow fluff and multicolored ribbon candy.

Marni Rose by Marni with notes of cardamom, mint, raspberry, black currant, almonds, rose absolute, Bulgarian rose, violet, patchouli, cedar, vanilla, white musk.

Versace Bright Crystal Absolu with notes of yuzu, pomegranate, ice, raspberry, lotus, peony, magnolia, acajou wood, musk, amber.

JLove for Jennifer Lopez with notes of white raspberry, frozen pineapple, pink grapefruit, tangerine, coconut orchid, water lily, tiare, vanilla sorbet, white wood, skin musk.

Original Pink by Soap & Glory with notes of bergamot, orange leafs, lemon, rose, peach, strawberry, gardenia, jasmine, patchouli, amber, musk.

Soulmate Woman by s.Oliver with notes of mandarine, red berries, heliotrope, freesia, peonies, white musk, cotton, tonka beans.

Halloween Fleur by Jezus Del Pozo with notes of pear, violet leaf, mandarine, orchid, jasmine sambac, lilac, cashmere, musk, amber

Mauboussin á la Folie  with notes of champagne, sweet raspberry, rose petals and caramel.


Not so new, but in the trend: 

Archive 69 by ELO
Le Petit Robe Noir by Guerlain
Miss Dior Cherie by Dior
Oh Lola! by Marc Jacobs
Sexy Angelic by Honoré des Prés
Twirl by Kate Spade
hard Candy by Hard Candy
Bubble Gum by Demeter
Mariah Carey Lollipop Bling
Elixir Charnel Boise Torride by Guerlain
Moulin Rouge by Histoires de Parfum 
Brulure de Rose by PG

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Perfume Trends - fall & winter 2013 -14 - PART I


"A pleasure or sadness that is cause by remembering something for the past and wishing to experience again." (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

La Vie Parisienne

Nostalgia is daydreaming, fantasying, an escapism of the unsatisfying present. Personal nostalgia is a way of maintaining a constant sense of identity through changes or trauma. It only happens when the dissatisfaction with the current present time is great enough for someone to actually prefer an era or time period in the past. For some people is a journey to the past to identify what is missing in the present and move on; for some people is a way to live in denial. IMO we do find some positivism in nostalgia. I mean, people who tend to go back in time usually just kept good memories of it!
Once Bill Maher said something very interesting about nostalgia of the 50's. He said that if you missed the fifties or thought they were better times you are probably not gay, Jewish, black or a woman...I add open minded, creative etc...etc...
So, I won't pin point here why there is a global dissatisfaction with the world today. You have been reading/watching the news of the last 5 years, so you know it. The younger crowd will seek for the future - better days will come; the older will get nostalgic...easy to understand.

Perfume does evoke memories, no doubt about it. But perfume wearers of today were not young during the 20's, because they are mostly dead already! People born in the 20's are at least 93 yrs old. So the idea - not memories -  that we have of the roaring years is actually from movies, books, songs, fashion etc... We are told that those were times of fun, of prosperity (at least until the end of the decade), of social/artistic/cultural change and dynamism. A trilling time of Jazz, Art Deco and Expressionism.

According to Jonathan Gry (IFRA UK) for these incoming months we are going to see what he calls a retro-olfaction. Fragrances will turn to past to remind us of the past. A olfactory nostalgia. Expect to see relaunch of iconic fragrances, he predicts. Floral bouquets with powerful white flowers such as jasmines, gardenias and tuberose. This trend will also influence masculine perfumes with a trend called Great Gatsby - here we will see woody fougeres and colognes in full gear.
Following this trend you have a list here of some of the new or launched perfumes:

Zelda by Shelley Waddington
Attrape Coeur by Guerlain
Chanel Nº5 by Chanel
Mitsouko by Guerlain
Mito and Kiki by Vero Kern
Jean Patou Heritage Collection (Eau de Patou, Chaldée, Patou pour Homme)
Chevignon Heritage Collection 
M.O.U.S.S.E by Oliver & Co

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Black Code in Fragrances & BLACK by PUREDISTANCE - TREND RADAR

In the beginning of this year this blogger has analyzed a bit of our fascination for the color black and how it is expressed in perfumery (click HERE to read the article if you missed it). Today I want to expand and explore this theme a little bit more.
Can we actually smell BLACK? Are we all synesthets? Are Black inspired perfumes really black?

Synesthesia is a disorder in which the signals from the various sensory organs are processed in the wrong cortical areas resulting in the sense information being interpreted as more than one sensation. People with this condition is rare - 1 in 25,000 according to Cytowik, 1989. That means that we are not all syntesthetes! 
That also means that only 1 out of 25,000 people can actually see black when smelling a BLACK inspired fragrance (or any other fragrance) and the rest of us, well... we are not exactly smelling the color black!

Photo credit: Puredistance

I received this month a sample of the latest fragrance by niche brand Puredistance and in fact, that is what inspired me to write this article. PUREDISTANCE BLACK is going to be officially launched this coming December at MiN NYC (Mindy and Chad's), but some of the lucky ones like me  have already received a preview!

SO, Puredistance BLACK is a concept created by Jan Ewoud Vos (brand owner) and developed by perfumer Antoine Lie (who has developed Wonderwood by Comme des Garçons also reviewed here - a fragrance that do remind me A LOT of Black).

“Deep beauty is best experienced in the dark.
 Envision. Smell. Feel.
 Don’t analyze. Today's trends to know everything
 (and to show everything) mute our magic feelings of intuitive beauty.
Puredistance Black treasures 
the beauty of the unknown.”

BLACK comes with an interesting proposal: the brand will not reveal its composition. That said, nobody will get info of the notes of this fragrance by press. Instead, Jan wants us to FEEL the perfume. If Black is about the beauty of the unknown, Jan wants us to discover this beauty by simply applying the fragrance and enjoy it as whole. He wants to send an emotional message to the wearers - feel the sensuality, embrace the mystery. Don't analyze it; be intuitive.

Illustration by Gabriel Conroy for Puredistance BLACK

In Jan's brief for this fragrance he brought David Bowie as Jan sees him as elegant, creative, mysterious) and Jeremy Irons playing Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune. The idea was to blend the delicate and sometimes fragile tone of Bowie's and the dark and noble tones of Jeremy Irons to construct a darker elegance to BLACK.

What do I FEEL/SMELL when I wear BLACK?
I smell a more luxurious and more elegant vibe of Wonderwood by Comme des Garçons.
Reviewing that fragrance I mostly did what Jan proposes to Black - I let my imagination flow:

"Rooty, burnt, fruity-floral, but in essence extremely woody, Wonderwood EDP is the sexy lumberjack fragrance. As natural and synthetics are the opposite, so is fire and lumberjacks to wood forests! And that is exactly what makes this fragrance interesting! In fact, from the development to dry down nothing new came along. Pretty known and found in many other fragrances, the notes of vetiver and cedar tend to overtake the entire base. You will find patchouli, Oud and other delicious scents in the composition, adding a sensual touch to this perfume, but do not expect extreme luxuriousness.
If you ever had fantasies about getting lost in the woods and finding a sexy sweaty muscular lumberjack out of nowhere...well, probably would never happen in real life! (unless you live in Canada...then maybe....). But once you spray Wonderwood on your skin, you will definitely encounter Mr. Wonderwood, the lumberjack".

In BLACK you will find the extreme luxuriousness that Wonderwook lacked. It is an exposed luxury, but a subtle close to the skin fragrance, with understated sexiness. You won't feel the lumberjack sweat all over you. You won't see muscles. (In fact Jeremy Irons attended "Walk in the Woods" to support the campaign agains selling the harvesting rights of public forests in Ireland - yeap - a man with many facets, including the elegance of fighting for Nature). So I can't evoke Jeremy Irons wearing a lumberjack shirt, cutting wood and sweating close to me, can I?

But what does BLACK evoke in me?

A gentle touch of an elegant man who does want to take me to bed and will succeed doing so in the most subtle way. There is mystery surrounding this man. But once he does come close to you he will reveal his hidden soul. Could be Jeremy Irons, not as Claus von Bülow but as Dr. Steven Flemming in Damage - a member of the Parliament, elegant, well mannered, with a hidden secret of a forbidden passion.

Jeremy Irons & Juliette Binoche in DAMAGE

To evoke is not to see. To evoke is to provoke, to call to mind, to create anew specially by means of imagination. It is to feel, to bring out emotions. BLACK by PUREDISTANCE evokes lustful, hot SEX in me. As simple as that.

You won't see the color black in this fragrance, as you won't see in any fragrance inspired by the color black. Which brings us back to the questions asked in the beginning: 

Can we actually smell black?  The answer is NO. 
Are really black inspired fragrances black? The answer is also NO.

So how exactly one relates to the color black in black inspired fragrances?

Perception is a process by which the brain takes all sensation people experience at any given moment and allows them to be interpreted in some meaningful fashion. Perception implies individuality. Although it implies individuality,  similarities exits as people perceive the world around them (consistency), and sometimes we are lead to involve ourselves in perceptive illusions (I also wrote about this subject in the beginning of this year - read TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE if you haven't read it till now).
An illusion is a perception that does not correspond to reality.

Hermann Grid

A classic example of a visual illusion is the one presented by the Hermann Grid matrix of squares. Look directly to the grid and you will see in the intersections of the white lines gray dots that pop up and fade away after a while. Those gray dots are illusions of visual perception.
What factors influence human perception of things? Besides cultural and upbringing, Perceptual Expectancy is one of them. It means that humans have a tendency to perceive things in a certain way because their previous experiences or expectations influence them. Humans use what is called top down processing, which means that we use preexisting knowledge to organize individual features into an unified whole. That is one form of Perceptual Expectancy.
That said, when a black inspired fragrance is presented in the market it comes with a preexisting concept that is presented to consumers.

Words such as Black, Noir, Nuit, Night or Dark are included in the name of the fragrance  evoking the color black. Black bottles, black packages and the use of the color black in the fragrance's advertising are also perceptual expectancy tools to evoke the perception of the color black. When a brand calls its perfume Black Afgano (Nasomatto), Coco Noir (Chanel), Back to Black (By Killian), Polo Black (Polo), Armani Black Code (Armani) etc..., presenting a perfume in a black flacon, there is already a preexisting knowledge of the association of the color black. The obvious, presented in a very direct way. But there are more understated ways of influencing perception.
Black is also associated to mystery, power, sophistication, elegancy. Let's call it the Black Code. These associations are deeply rooted in our cultural perception of the color black. When the brand presents its fragrance as mysterious, sophisticated and elegant they are influencing you to think of black in a more subtle refined way.

So you cannot see black or feel black in a fragrance. You can only have the illusional perception of it. 

Maybe if you receive a fragrance such as BLACK by PUREDISTANCE  in a small transparent vial with no name marked on the juice and you don't know who created or which perfumer have developed it you might not think of the color black. You may say it is a woody slightly floral sensual fragrance. It might remind you of Wonderwood or any other fragrance might say it is oriental, classic, elegant; it contains musk or oud or any other note you smell in it... but you won't say it is the olfactive interpretation of the color black. Because the black color does not actually have a smell. But if you are a synesthete you might actually see the black color smelling a perfume because the signal that had to be interpreted as smell could be interpreted as more than one sensation and you might also get a visual.

Truth is that you associated situations, feelings, emotions, memories, desires, fantasies related to the black color and the smell of the perfume altogether. Just like I did: "A gentle touch of an elegant man who does want to take me to bed and will succeed doing so in the most subtle way"/lustful hot sex...

Perfumes create illusions and perfumers combine ingredients to create olfactory representations. It is up to the marketing department to create the perceptual expectancy. To understand how human perceive the world around them. To translate an olfactive experience into a Black Code.

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